Bobwhite Quail Release Program
Bobwhite Quail Release Program
The Feisty Acres Bobwhite Quail Release Program has been active since the spring of 2016 and hopes to continue on for seasons to come. Each season, 200 - 300 adolescent Bobwhite Quail are released on the farm. Along with releasing birds, Feisty Acres aims to bring to light the importance of managing and preserving land that facilitates appropriate habitat for Bobwhite Quail and other native species on Long Island. All birds released are reported annually to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS-DEC). Releases are held four to five times a year and anyone who is interested is invited to attend a release event.
Frequently Asked questions
- Can I raise Bobwhite Quail in my area?
Perhaps. The biggest threat to Bobwhite quail populations on Long Island is lack of suitable habit. A covey of quail can roam anywhere from 80 - 200 acres and require land that has a well-established brushland and reliable water source. Smalls plots of land, such as backyards in suburban areas, do not provide satisfactory conditions for these birds to thrive. Preserved land, large public parks, and farms or vineyards with maintained hedgerows and pasture areas are best for Bobwhites.
- Do I need a special license to raise and release Bobwhites?
Yes. Bobwhite quail are a native species to our area, so in order to raise these birds legally, one must obtain a Game Bird Breeders License from the NYS-DEC. Every year, people and businesses who have this license are required to fill out annual paperwork that details the amount of birds released and where they were released.
- How does Feisty Acres raise their Bobwhites?
We use a piece of equipment called a Game Bird Surrogator, an outdoor unit that can house up to 100 chicks for a time period of 5 weeks. This unit helps to feed, water, and heat the quail with minimal human contact (once weekly), which is central to promoting self-taught behaviors. The surrogator is strategically placed on the land intended for release; this establishes a central location familiar to the quail to be used as a mating ground after reaching maturity. Hand raised Bobwhite Quail, or those that have daily contact with humans through feeding and watering, associate humans with food and other necessities to live, which is detrimental to their survivability.
Released as adolescents (five to six weeks of age), rather than at full maturity (sixteen weeks or more), the quail are at optimal age for adaptation to life outside in their new surroundings. If released as adults, Bobwhites have a more difficult time acclimating to their environment and less likely to survive.
Of the total birds released, only 5%-10% survive the following season to reproduce. This is why its particularly important to release large numbers each season and to continually release birds year after year. Since 2016, Feisty Acres has released just under five hundred Bobwhites on the North Fork.
- When are release dates?
Release dates vary year to year. To keep updated on upcoming Bobwhite Quail Release events and general farm happenings, sign up for the newsletter by visiting our Contact Us page!